In a previous blog post, I talked about some of the common ingredients we find in natural cosmetics and how they can benefit our skin as well as provide a healthier alternative to conventional cosmetics. I mentioned that conventional makeup products are often filled with chemicals, however I noticed that many people are unaware of what those chemicals are and how they can poorly affect our skin. Truthfully, I didn’t understand those ingredients either until I did some digging, and I wanted to share the facts with you to help anyone interested in natural alternatives to find better products.
If you picked up a conventional foundation right now and read the ingredients, I am sure that most of them would be unfamiliar to you. Fortunately, many chemicals can easily be avoided by purchasing natural cosmetics instead. Let’s take a look into some of the chemicals that are commonly found in conventional makeup!
This is one that you probably hear or read fairly often, it seems to be in almost everything, but may not know what it means. Parabens are commonly used preservatives that prevent bacteria growth. They are inexpensive, effective, and commonplace but are actually bad for your health. In the 1990’s, parabens were deemed xenoestrogens, which means they are agents that mimic estrogen in the body. Estrogen disruption has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. Parabens can be found in a variety of products including, but not limited to, mascara, eyeliner, cleansers, primers, foundation, blush, and eyeshadow.
Also known as isopropanol, it has a low order of acute toxicity. It is irritating to the eyes but not the skin and is an alcohol that evaporates very quickly. Repeated or prolonged exposure to isopropyl alcohol may cause central nervous system depression. It is used to dissolve other substances in cosmetics and to decrease the thickness of liquids. This is a widely used ingredient that may be found in lotions, bath products, eye makeup, cleansing products, and other hair, nail or skin care products.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are used mostly as solvents and plastic softeners in both industrial and personal care products. The main phthalates in personal care products are dibutyl phthalate in nail polish, diethyl phthalate in perfumes and lotions, and dimethyl phthalate in hair sprays. Their presence is often unnoted on labels. Certain phthalate chemicals are known to possess endocrine disrupting effects at high doses. Concern is mounting over the effects of long term exposure to these chemicals, though only certain phthalates are restricted.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Although Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is derived from coconuts, it is anything but natural. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a detergent, surfactant, and emulsifier that is often used in thousands of cosmetic products. It is present in many shampoos, body washes, facial cleansers, hand soaps, foundations, and other makeup. According to several research studies on Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, the chemical is linked to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, and possible mutations such as cancer. Though it is approved for usage and classified as a moderate hazard, there are many health concerns associated with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate from research studies.
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent and preservative commonly used in both cleaning products and personal care products. It is a broad-spectrum chemical often used as an active ingredient and has been shown to slow or halt bacterial growth. It is approved by the FDA, but has many health concerns shown through research. Health concerns for this chemical include irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs and possible endocrine (hormonal) disruption. Triclosan can also contribute to an increased risk of allergy development in children. This chemical may be found in soaps, shampoos, deodorants, face powders, concealers, and nail care products.
Some of these chemicals may sound pretty scary, right? If this bothers you, we have the option of not purchasing and using products containing these ingredients. Natural cosmetics contain pure and healthy ingredients derived from organic substances. Next time you buy makeup or personal care products, I encourage you to take a look at the label and see if you recognize the ingredients listed.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11